Le Pen Party Taps Russian Banks to Fund 2017 Election Campaign

  • France's National Front seeks funds for presidential race
  • Anti-immigration party says French banks don't lend to it

Front National party leader Marine Le Pen.

Photographer: Jean-Christophe/AFP via Getty Images

Marine Le Pen’s National Front party is reaching out to Russian banks for the 25 million euros ($27.7 million) it needs to bankroll its 2017 presidential campaign, the party’s treasurer Wallerand de Saint Just said.

“I will look for funds where I know I might get them,” Saint Just said in a telephone interview. “I found some financing there in 2014, so yes I am going to try again.”

The anti-euro, anti-immigration party, whose loan requests are turned down by French banks, borrowed nearly 10 million euros from the First Czech Russian Bank in 2014 to finance its campaigns, Saint Just said.  Although the party failed to gain control of any French region in the most recent elections in December, it still got 6.8 million votes, exceeding its previous record of 6.4 million set 2012.

In December 2014, Marine Le Pen justified tapping funds from a Russian bank, saying she was “constrained” by the fact that she failed to find a lender in any other country. In May, she visited Moscow and met with the Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin.

Marine Le Pen made her candidacy for the 2017 French presidential election official on TF1 television on Feb. 8.

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